The Triple Gold Club is a term used to describe ice hockey players who have won an Olympic Games gold medal, a World Championship gold medal, and the Stanley Cup, the championship trophy of the National Hockey League (NHL). The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) considers them to be "the three most important championships available to the sport".
Tomas Jonsson, Mats Näslund and Håkan Loob became the first members on 27 February 1994 when Sweden won the gold medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics. The term first entered popular use following the 2002 Winter Olympics, which saw the addition of the first Canadian members. On 8 May 2007, the IIHF announced it would formalize the club and recognize the players who had won the three championships. The ceremony was to take place in Canada during the 2008 World Championship but it was later changed to occur during the inaugural Victoria Cup, in September 2008.
There are twenty-two members of the Triple Gold Club—nine Swedes, six Russians, five Canadians, and two Czechs. Six of the players are defencemen and the remaining players are forwards; no goaltenders have won all three championships. Measuring from the time of their first victory of one of the three championships, Swedes Niklas Kronwall, Mikael Samuelsson and Henrik Zetterberg needed the least amount of time to join the club, winning the Olympics and World Championships in 2006 and the Stanley Cup in 2008 (as members of the Detroit Red Wings). In contrast, it took Russian Viacheslav Fetisov 19 years from his first victory to become a member. Fetisov, his countryman Igor Larionov, and Swede Peter Forsberg are the only players to have won each of the three championships more than once. Eight members of the Triple Gold Club have won the Stanley Cup as part of the Detroit Red Wings, more than any other NHL team.
The IIHF considers the three components of the club to be "the three most important championships available to the sport". The club has been described as a "a modern fraternity" because before 1977, NHL players—considered professional—were not allowed to play in the world championships and until 1998 for the Olympics, which were intended for amateur players. Additionally, few Europeans played in the NHL before the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989.
Ice hockey tournaments have been staged at the Olympic Games since 1920. The men's tournament was first held at the 1920 Summer Olympics and integrated in the Winter Olympic program starting with the 1924 Winter Olympics. The Olympic Games were originally intended for amateur athletes, so the players of the NHL and other professional leagues were not allowed to play. Canada dominated the first three decades, winning six of seven gold medals. The Soviet Union first participated in 1956 and overtook Canada as the dominant international team, winning seven of the nine tournaments in which they participated. At the 1980 Winter Olympics, the American team upset the Soviet Union in the "Miracle on Ice" and went on to win the gold medal. Other nations to win gold include Great Britain in 1936, Sweden in 1994 and 2006 and the Czech Republic in 1998.
Many of Canada's top players were NHL professionals, so the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) pushed for the ability to use professional and amateur players. After several debates about the definition of what made a player professional, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted to allow all athletes to compete in Olympic Games held after 1988. The NHL was initially reluctant to allow its players to compete because the Olympics are held in the middle of the NHL season, and the league would have to halt play if many of its players participated. However, an agreement was reached and NHL players were allowed to compete starting in 1998.
The Ice Hockey World Championship is an annual tournament organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). It is the highest profile annual international tournament. The tournament held at the 1920 Summer Olympics is recognized as the first Ice Hockey World Championship. Between 1920 and 1968, the Olympic hockey tournament was also considered the World Championship for that year. The first World Championship that was held as an individual event was in 1930 in which twelve nations participated. The modern format for the World Championship features 16 teams in the championship group, 12 teams in Division I and 12 teams in Division II. If there are more than 40 teams, the rest compete in Division III. The teams in the championship play a preliminary and qualifying round, then the top eight teams play in the playoff medal round and the winning team is crowned World Champion.
Canada was the tournament's first dominant team, winning the tournament 12 times between 1930 and 1952. The Soviet Union first participated in 1954 and soon became rivals with Canada. From 1963 until the nation's breakup in 1991, the Soviet Union was the dominant team, winning 20 championships. During that period, only three other nations won medals: Canada, Czechoslovakia and Sweden. Russia first participated in 1992 and the Czech Republic and Slovakia started competing in 1993. In the 2000s, the competition became more open as the "big six" teams–Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden and the United States–as well as Slovakia became more evenly matched.
The Stanley Cup is the championship trophy awarded annually to the National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs champion. The Stanley Cup is the oldest professional sports trophy in North America and is surrounded by numerous legends and traditions, the oldest of which is the celebratory drinking of champagne out of the cup by the winning team. Unlike the trophies awarded by the other three major professional sports leagues of North America, a new Stanley Cup is not made each year; Cup winners keep it until a new champion is crowned. It is the only trophy in professional sports that has the name of the winning players, coaches, management, and club staff engraved on its chalice. The original bowl was made of silver and has a dimension of 18.5 centimeters (7.28 inches) in height and 29 centimeters (11.42 inches) in diameter. The current Stanley Cup, topped with a copy of the original bowl, is made of silver and nickel alloy. Today, it has a height of 89.54 centimeters (35.25 inches) and weighs 15.5 kilograms (34.5 lb).
Originally inscribed the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, the trophy was donated in 1892, by then Governor General of Canada Lord Stanley of Preston, as an award for Canada's top-ranking amateur ice hockey club. In 1915, the two professional ice hockey organizations, the National Hockey Association (NHA) and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA), reached a gentlemen's agreement in which their respective champions would face each other for the Stanley Cup. After a series of league mergers and folds, it became the de facto championship trophy of the NHL in 1926. The Cup later became the de jure NHL championship prize in 1947.
|*||Player is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.|
|Text in bold indicates the specific championship that made that player a member of the club.|
|Olympic Gold||World Championship||Stanley Cup|
|Tomas Jonsson||27 February 1994||Sweden 1994||Sweden 1991||New York Islanders 1982, 1983|
|Mats Näslund||27 February 1994||Sweden 1994||Sweden 1991||Montreal Canadiens 1986|
|Håkan Loob||27 February 1994||Sweden 1994||Sweden 1987, 1991||Calgary Flames 1989|
|Valeri Kamensky||10 June 1996||USSR 1988||USSR 1986, 1989, 1990
|Colorado Avalanche 1996|
|Alexei Gusarov||10 June 1996||USSR 1988, Unified Team 1992||USSR 1986, 1989, 1990||Colorado Avalanche 1996|
|Peter Forsberg||10 June 1996||Sweden 1994, 2006||Sweden 1992, 1998||Colorado Avalanche 1996, 2001|
|Viacheslav Fetisov *||7 June 1997||USSR 1984, 1988||USSR 1978, 1981, 1982, 1983,
1986, 1989, 1990
|Detroit Red Wings 1997, 1998|
|Igor Larionov *||7 June 1997||USSR 1984, 1988||USSR 1982, 1983, 1986, 1989||Detroit Red Wings 1997, 1998, 2002|
|Alexander Mogilny||10 June 2000||USSR 1988||USSR 1989||New Jersey Devils 2000|
|Vladimir Malakhov||10 June 2000||Unified Team 1992||USSR 1990||New Jersey Devils 2000|
|Rob Blake||24 February 2002||Canada 2002||Canada 1994, 1997||Colorado Avalanche 2001|
|Joe Sakic||24 February 2002||Canada 2002||Canada 1994||Colorado Avalanche 1996, 2001|
|Brendan Shanahan||24 February 2002||Canada 2002||Canada 1994||Detroit Red Wings 1997, 1998, 2002|
|Scott Niedermayer||9 May 2004||Canada 2002||Canada 2004||New
Jersey Devils 1995, 2000, 2003
Anaheim Ducks 2007
|Jaromír Jágr||15 May 2005||Czech Republic 1998||Czech Republic 2005||Pittsburgh Penguins 1991, 1992|
|Jiří Šlégr||15 May 2005||Czech Republic 1998||Czech Republic 2005||Detroit Red Wings 2002|
|Nicklas Lidström||26 February 2006||Sweden 2006||Sweden 1991||Detroit Red Wings 1997, 1998, 2002, 2008|
|Fredrik Modin||26 February 2006||Sweden 2006||Sweden 1998||Tampa Bay Lightning 2004|
|Chris Pronger||6 June 2007||Canada 2002||Canada 1997||Anaheim Ducks 2007|
|Niklas Kronwall||4 June 2008||Sweden 2006||Sweden 2006||Detroit Red Wings 2008|
|Henrik Zetterberg||4 June 2008||Sweden 2006||Sweden 2006||Detroit Red Wings 2008|
|Mikael Samuelsson||4 June 2008||Sweden 2006||Sweden 2006||Detroit Red Wings 2008|